Give it some time and when Grand Theft Auto V
is released this Spring, underage gamers who somehow manage to get their hands on the title will be stuffing people in trunks in real life, right? You know that's nonsense, and I know that's nonsense, but there's a general consensus among parents that violent video games are leading to real-world violence.
It's an argument we've heard a million times before, one that ignores the horrible things people have done to one another throughout history, from the rarely mentioned Tulsa Race Riot of 1921
, to the twisted medieval torture devices
that were invented long before the Xbox 360, or even the Atari 2600, for that matter. Lest I go off on a tangent here, let me back it up and present some findings of a survey commissioned by SurveyUSA and conducted by Common Sense Media and the Center for America Progress.
Out of 1,050 parents of children up to the age of 18, some 89 percent indicated that nationwide violence in today's video games is a problem. Three quarters of the respondents admitted it was difficult to shield children from violence, presumably in the real-world (the survey wasn't clear on that part).
One thing I found particularly interesting is that after being shown advertisements for Hitman: Absolution and the movie Gangster Squad, 84 percent of parents said the game's ad was inappropriate to show on TV during times that children might be viewing, compared to 63 percent who felt the same way about the movie. That's not a large enough sample of ads (or parents) to draw any kind of meaningful conclusion, but I find myself intrigued about the disparity between those who take exception to violent movies versus violent video games.
To be fair, video games weren't the only thing parents feel leads to real-world violence. The vast majority -- 93 percent -- pointed to lack of supervision as a major contributing factor, followed by bullying (92 percent) and on down the list to violent toys (64 percent).
There's lots to digest in the survey. Grab your PDF reader, give it a once-over, and then sound off in the comments section below. Specifically, let us know what you think about violent video games as it pertains to real-world violence.